Two sides with previous experience at this level will be kicking off their FIFA Club World Cup UAE 2010 campaigns on Friday when TP Mazembe begin their second bid against CF Pachuca, appearing for a third time. Neither team boasts particularly glorious memories of the competition, but a win would boost confidence and leave the victors dreaming of further exploits down the line.
TP Mazembe Englebert-CF Pachuca, Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi, Friday 10 December 2010, 20.00 (local time)
For CAF Champions League holders TP Mazembe, the challenge will be to fare better than during their maiden participation last year. The Crows lost their opening encounter in 2009 to Korea Republic outfit Pohang Steelers and subsequently succumbed to defeat against New Zealand club Auckland City in the match for fifth place. A win against Pachuca would therefore be their first on the global stage and, more importantly, earn them a semi-final meeting with Brazilian contenders SC Internacional
For their part, Los Tuzos can draw a measure of inspiration from their last-four finish in 2008, when they learned the painful lesson of their debut appearance the previous year. Beaten 1-0 by Etoile du Sahel in 2007, they bounced back with a 4-2 extra-time success against African champions Al Ahly in 2008 and know a second win in three contests against African opposition would leave them one step away from the final.
32 – The number of players on both sides with previous experience of the FIFA Club World Cup. No fewer than 17 members of Mazembe’s squad were also present in 2009, while 15 players in Pachuca’s ranks have been here before: 14 of them with Pachuca in 2007 and 2008, and one, forward Daniel Arreloa, with Atlante last year.
"Last year, we were above all discovering the competition. This year, we’re coming here with the ambition of winning our matches. We don’t know Pachuca well yet, but we already know that we’ll be looking to attack,” Kazembe Mihayo, Mazembe captain.
“We want to do as well as we can because our dream is to come up against the European champions. We can’t afford to look too far ahead, though. We know there’s a lot of quality in this African side,” Edgar Benitez, Pachuca forward.